Sure, there are women in bikinis and heels (the most impractical combination in the history of fashion), and an unhealthy focus on aesthetics, but once you push past the first episode you realise Love Island is relatively inoffensive.
For every numbskull who confuses the word “monogamist” with “misogynist” – hello, Jaxon – there’s someone to correct their mistake. For every display of boobs and bum there’s an up-close, steady shot of sweaty abs and biceps.
The beautiful, tanned people are all objectified equally. It’s perfection.
So I was flummoxed watching Tuesday night’s episode, when two male contestants found themselves in a conversation about the supposed importance of ‘carrying on the family name’.
Grant, who is in a committed relationship with Tayla (they’ve told each other they love each other, had all the sex, etc), explained to single dude Teddy (unloved, a villa virgin, etc) that his future wife will need to birth “two boys” to “keep the family name going”.
“If I do go further with Tayla will she have my last name?” Grant asked.
“That’s honestly the last issue I would have with a girl,” he said. “I’d never take a girl’s last name over mine.”
At this point in the article, I’d like to inform you, reader friend, that Grant’s surname is Crapp. Yes, Crapp.
I’m not quite sure what riled me up more: The suggestion that Grant, a reality TV contestant and amateur private investigator, is someone of historical importance like Einstein or Shakespeare or Oprah. Or the suggestion that Tayla’s surname – and her potential desire to ‘carry it on’ – is irrelevant.
Or, you know, that someone thinks the surname ‘Crapp’ could ever trump the surname ‘Damir’.
Don’t tell me this is a “guy thing” – because it’s more than that. It’s a sexist thing.
I get Grant’s values are traditional. I get they’re a bit old-school. But old-school, sexist traditions can – just like Grant’s surname – be flushed down the toilet by an army of women who have been told for centuries that our names just don’t matter as much.
In many circles, even progressive ones, it’s still an expectation that when a woman gets married, her name and identity changes while her husband’s is unchanged. She is adopted into his life. She becomes an extension of him. She is malleable to her husband and the history of his ‘family’s name’. Her own doesn’t need to be ‘carried on’. She is rarely afforded that privilege.
And, in 2018, with the boppy credits for Love Island playing in front of me, I’d like to say that’s absolute bullshit.
If you’re a dude who insists he would ‘never take a girl’s last name’, I’ll ask you this: What makes your story more important than the woman you’re marrying?
For more from Michelle Andrews, follow her on Instagram.